Lawsuit Follows Approval of East Hampton Airport Restrictions

East Hampton Airport. Photo credit: Cully/EEFAS
East Hampton Airport. Photo credit: Cully/EEFAS

East Hampton Town was served with a lawsuit Tuesday morning following last week’s town board approval of restrictions affecting helicopter traffic to East Hampton Airport.

Approved April 16, the restrictions prohibit aircraft operations year-round between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., prohibit noisy aircraft year-round between 8 p.m. and 9 a.m., and limit noisy aircraft to a single landing and takeoff each week during the summer.

The town board voted down a proposal to ban weekend helicopter traffic from May 1 to September 30.

The lawsuit was filed by a group calling itself Friends of the East Hampton Airport.

“Stripped of its rhetoric, the 34-page complaint is entirely predictable and contains no surprises,” the town stated in a press release. “The plaintiffs assert that the Town’s three new restrictions on aircraft are unreasonable and violate the U.S. Constitution.”

The town says the complaint overlooks years of studies, analysis and public meetings and the fact that the town waited for federal obligations to expire before moving forward with restrictions.

“We have, with surgical precision, defined precise restrictions that limit only the most disturbing operations at East Hampton Airport,” the town stated. “The Town has committed to an incremental approach–and to reevaluation of the restrictions after the end of the 2015 season to make sure that they have been only as restrictive as necessary.”

The town concluded, “While we anticipated this lawsuit, it is sad that these airport users are now going to force the Town to spend scarce airport funds to defend these restrictions rather than working to make this airport the best it can be.”

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